tv In the Arena CNN March 25, 2011 8:00pm-8:58pm EDT
not necessarily work toward understanding. the moreeople are living and working and knowledgeabl muslims in their community, the more t.hey feel tat theybelong. >> all right. soledad, i look forward to watchi your documentary. thank you. >> thank you. that's all from us tonight. john king will be back bhnd live coverage of the president's address. "in the arena"tarts now. good evening, i'm eliot spitzer. welcome the program, our regular, will cain is, here. what have you got ?tonight? >> the protests across the middle east is spread into syria. with the long and violent history of dealing with protesters, we'll talk about what to expect in the coming weeks. >> it is going to be ugly and violent. an extraordinary time in the middle east. we begin with libya where the critic question is this -- correct checkmate or stalemate?
how and why the coalition dominates the skies and how it's been employed against libyan forces. you're watching a british royal tornado bombertiro targeting an destroying a libyan battle tank. in a split second the tank turns into a ball of fire. this is why the obama administration hoped this campaign would be a quick checkmate and the fall of gadhafi. yet almost a week into the libyan campaign, it's increasingly looking like a drawn-out stalemate. gadhafi still shows no signs of relenting in his brutal war against his people, ignoring all calls for a cease fear. in ajdabiya and misurata the fighting continues while gadhafi forces are dug in deep in tripoli. almost one week in, hope of a uick checkmate, that is of anh end to the gadhafi regime, is fading. and as american forces hand of control of the campaign to nato, it looks like a long-term stalemate is a possible outcome. tonight's question -- a will th u.s. and our alls have the political will to continue the gadhafi forts to drive out of office if the war boggs
down? and can we accomplish our objectives within the constraints of the u.n. resolution? we go to nic robertson inip tripoli. it seems the gadhafi regime continues to try to spin a story. what are you seeing, and what are they trying to tell you? >> reporter: they continue to try show us that tre were civilian casualties here. they believe if they can do that that will weaken the resolve. they took us to a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city where a missile or rocket had impacted in the farmland. they told us there would be civilian casualties. the stories we heard didn't add up. it was clear something had impacted, but there were no casualties to see and conflicting stories about who and what had been hit. what we did see driving out of the cityo the east, clear signs of how the coalition aerial bottmbardment is effecti here. we saw daged bases, damaged buildings, and a damaged radar
control stem outside that controls a network of surface-to-air missiles on the seafront where coalition aircraft would fly over the city. that had been targeted and destroyed, but at the same time, we also saw how gadhafi is moving his assets, moving his military assets around, his air defense assets to keep him safe from coalition targeting. we saw a camouflaged anti-aircraft gudug into the side of the road behind a sand berm along the seafront there. we could catch aircraft flying over. and outside another base, we saw a surface-to-air missile system, a mobile, small portable surface to air system hidden under the tree. so gadhafi clearly has some equipment his arsenal still, has taken it outside the bases. is hidinigit from sight. but he still plans to use it at coalition aircraft flying over the city here. >> that raises the inevitable question -- are we sinking into
a stalemate or does one side have an advantage best as you can tell from everything you're seeing and hearing? >> reporter: nobody has an advantage now. over time, the coalition has air supremacy, but tell take time to degrade gadhafi's forces on the ground. his will isn't broken. we understand from commanders he wants to reinforce his red line, his line in the sand,jdaba in the east, he has forces dug in. there the rebels can't push them out. that's a st alemate. his arming the tribes to bring them in the fight if the army fails him you, and we are seeing a sttering of weaponry. it's going to be hard to targ debt across the country. so it is degenerating into a stalemate of sorts before you get into other hquestions like what happens if the rebels takev ajdabiya and advance through the rest of the country. where would the coalition be positioned and what issues would they face if they found the rebels were advancing through territory where there were civilian that were loyal to
gadhafi. this would present many issues. so it is heading into a troublesome, it appears, stalemate at the moment. >> all right, thank you for that report. you stay safe over there. joiningme me is james traub contributing writing to "the new york times" magazine and writes for foreignpolicy.com. thanks for being here. the presidey , we've heard, is finally going to speak to the nation monday night at 7:30 about libya. what will he tell us is our objective over there? how does he square the multiple purposes we have so far heard e about? >> well, he has to distinguish between the military objective which is laid out in t u.n. security council resolution, and the political objective which h has quite explicitly says he has and which our allies share. military objective is a humanitarian one. political objective, get rid of gadhafi. i think the case that's going to be hard for him to make is how do we get from one to the otherc that is, you could say we've succeeded. the litary campaign has succeeded. but the military campaign has to
also ultimately serve this political goal of gutetting gadhafi usout. >> look, you just said the critical point, our military is there to get our political purposes accomplished. if the political objective was to get gadhafi out and yet we'rr handcuffed by a u.n. resolution that ss only civilian humanitarian purposes, that tension, that disjunction has to be square >> we're not really handcuffed by it. that is, if the u.n. security council resolution did not include the expression "all necessy means," which u.s. ambassador to the u.n.'s susan ricin existed that it have, it would be true. that we would only be able to engage in explicitly humanitarian no-fly zone kind of activities, but the fact is a other things you're seeing, which have nothing to do with the no-fly zone, are directed toward degrading gadhafi's military capacity. >> two points. the tape we showed at the top of the show of that tank being destroyed clearly that isry a military function, is going to help us get rid of gadhafi, destroying his military. point two, however, is that at the end of the day, if we cannot
be there to assist the opposition forces when they go on offense, then we're not going to get gadhafi out. we're not going to be a critical part of th. does the u.n. resolution give us cover to use our air por to help the opposition forces when they play offense, not defense? >> you know, i tgonk this is a good question. i suspect that we'll find a way of fudging that. but i want to add one thing, whichs we keep usinthis word "stalemate." i think it's too early to use the word stalemate. that's tv time. we're payingapt attention. kosovo took 76 days. of course people said it was a stalemate. this has taken six or seven days so far. the war changes every day. we don't know what's going to happen. yes, it's going to be protracted. that's clear. is it a cstalemate? not yet. >> i can see the point, you're right. in their is -- this is way, way, way from a stalemate. sit tight. we'll bring in david scheffer, part of the team that created international criminal court, go same body that is going to try
to bring colonel gadhafi to trial.jo bassador, thank you for joining us. this would be a novel approach. do you think that if the icc, theat international criminal cot brought a case against gadhafi, that would lead to his departure any faster than he might otherwise? >> first, i think there'sth a strong likelihood that such a case will be brought, not onlyb against gdhafi but other leaders of his regime. that signal has been sent very loud and clear by prosecutor il ocampo. whether it will lead to his ly departure, perhaps ultimately yes. i thinke've seen in the past, whether it be milosevic, taylorl mi milladich, presidential sadir, who is under indictment by the icc, ultimately the indictnt discredit leaders, they shame them, they embolden those within theirtswhoe want new leadership to press them to step down, to be removed or, in fact, to be arrested, which was the
case with charles taylor. and -- >> david? >> and i think thas possible. yes? >> let me play devil's advocate for a moment. want to push you. some are saying that the prospect of having the realty of an icc case hanging over gadhafi's head in fact cituts o exit avenues. in other words, he can't leave, he can't find refuge anyplace else in the world because he knows th the icc will track him down and try him, and wouldn't it be bettero let him find some remote island someere in the world and let him go there upand let him be r of him? is that a concern? >> i don't think that's an option a nymore. if he's under indictment by the criminal court, there's no place to hide anymore. he can try to, but ultimately he'll have to be brought to justice. that day of sort of finding an island where someone canf gost and rest the rest of their days without encountering the full brunt of international justice,
those are gone. they're just gone. so it's- it -- you'recorrect, i not a question of him departing to some secure location. it's really a question of him being forced out of office, if he has to,urre sering to the icc if his deranged mind gets. s to that point. ye it is true, once he's indicted he will have to face that fate. and that's just the realty now with the international criminal court. >> ambassador, jim traub with "the new york times" magazine. you rightly mention that it isn't only gadhafi but people around him who have been referred for prosecution. his head of security, his personal security head, t foreign minister and so forth. i assume thee there is that's a way of peeling those people off? gadhafi may not be susceptible to that kind of threat, but they may. first of all, is that the idea? and second, can you point to other cases where in fact that has worked? >> well, first, it is true that
his regime colleagues are all actually specifically listed by prosecutor on,cosm -- ocampo t they're under investigation. they have to take that into account in whether or not they want to remain loorl to gadhafi or perhaps try to undermine him or take steps now that will mitigate their own liability before the international criminal court someday. as to, you know, has it worked elsewhere -- well, with president bashir, there are colleagues of his who have been indicted in sudan before he was indicted. now we haven't seen bashir leave yet, but two things remarkably happened. one, he decided not to run for re-election again in sudan. secondly, he let the southern su sudanese referendum proceed fairly peacefully recently. another example is theords
resistance army in usariganda. part of the army have been indicted, and you've seen a real disassembly belli ing -- disassembly bilingual of the army. it's a constant feature in the almost five, ra, six times a day, what is the icc dog? are they tracking us? where are they? what can we do to minimize our csk? >> let me cut off for one second. time is tight. i've got to throw a last questiut too see james before we cut out for a moment. james, it seems unbelievable we still haven't recognized the opposition since that would help our political forces, our military, help us arm the rebels. is this a mistake? france did it a week or so at leas >> think it's a specific thing we could do. we could put a consulate in benghazi. whatever is going to happen in this military contest, at this point benghazi blnelongs to the rebels. we're doing a lot of things
behind the scenes, we're in close contact with the rebel leadership. i don't see a reason why we could not have some kind of diplomatic representation in benghazi, both for substantive reasons and for symbolic, forem. >>nhere are lots of arrows in thquiver. s you point out, we should put aconsulate there. >> david vladeck: t thanks for joining us. coming up, an american college student missing, lost amid the anti-government protest in syria. ck, gmc or cadillac of their choice. push your onstar button and you could be one of them. even if you're not an onstar customer. ♪ just push your blue button and tell the advor you want to eer the onstar push on sweepstakes. ♪ but do it soon. see rules at onstar.com to enter without a blue onstar button.
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ps so you'll pay no more than $5 test strips, which is a true american value for people with diabetes like me. [ male announcer ] accu-chek aviva. born in the usa. there's an american college student missing in syria. the 21-year-old is a student studying arabic in dmascus. the major disappeared seven days ago, watching protests when he was grabbed by syrian officials. he has not been seen since. it's believed that tik root is in custody but it's not beener confirmed. his father, tom root, joins me fr vermont. has the syrian government admitted that they have him? >> they'v acknowledged that they have him in the sense that atey have said it's almost certain, in quotes, that we have
him, which is their words for saying, yes, we have him. there's been absolutel no word about his condition, where he's at, how he is, anythi about his condition. >> let me read for you -- we iterally moments ago when we spoke to you and asked if you wanted to chat with us this evening, reached out to the syrian embassy. let me read to you what we got from them. i doubt that it will shed much light for you. let me read this to you in its entirety, it says, "the syrian embassy in washington was recently made aware of mr. tik root's situation and has been following it closely ever since. we have been in touch with mr. root's parents. his state senator and the u.s. embassy. this is an unfortunate incident that we hope will be resolved as soon as possible." now obviously i don't know if those are words of encouragement to you, i hope so. thfact that they give a time frame like that, had they used any language like that before? >> no. to be honest, this is the first day that we've had contact with the syria embassy in
waington. we've been dealing with the u.s. embassy in damascus, and they'v been incredibly good. >> do you know what he was doing? have his friends over there been able to shed any light on where he was, when he was seized, what the environment was, anything that would help us get him back faster? >> sure. the most we know is that sometime between friday of last week, between noon and 3:00 he left his roommate, went back to his room. and tik went to the old city of damascus, which he is fond of. and at that point, we knew that there was an demonstration goin on in the mosque of the old city, so we put two and two together, would recognize that he probably would have en intrigued by watching that denstration. he would never have joined -- he knew the consequences of that. and we suspect he was picked up on the periphery. we've hed that that is sometimes done inehese situations by the police. >> if there's any message you
want to get to tik, we don't know if he's going to be watching cnn overseas or what. at would that message be right now? >> the message now is the incredible support fromns congressional delegations in vermont and elsewhere, from clearly all his friends and family, all of e people in milbury college, all these people have dropped everything r him right now. he's been the focus of their lives and our liv fore past week. and they're doing everything in their power to get him out. >> all right. >> i'm very proud of their efforts. >> and what is your personal message to him if let's hope he can get it. >> my personal message is, tik, you know what i said when i last saw you. it remains true now. i love you as much as i did then. let's get you home and get you safe. i miss you terribly. >> all right. we will see what can be done and good luck and everybody is on your side, going do everything humanlpossible to get tik home. >> thank you for the time, i appreciate it. >>ll right. needless to say, this is every
parent's nightmare. and we will keep everybody apprised of what we hear. will cain has more on the chaos in the region and syria in particular. >>ens of dozens killed this weeks. peter brook has worked for the cia and the heritage foundation. peter, syria has a long history of violent crackdowns on protesters. in fact, the current president bashar al asad, his fatherre suppressed an insurrection in 1982, killing something like, what is i 20,000 members of the muslim brotherhood. do you expect to see in syria assad follow the footsteps of his father and take this down a violent path, or this will go in the direction of egypt? you know, a more peaceful transition of power? >> we certainty c't rule out the fact -- certainly can't rule out the fact that he'll crack down very hard. what i expect will happen is that he will try to give out certain incrementally give out certain things to the
opposition, to try to quiet -- to quiet the uprising while at the same time arresting mes mbe, and perhaps reminding people that this is a very repressive police state, perhaps inking what happened in hama gently to let people know that this is a tough regime, and it's not necessarily going to step aside easily. >> this concept of incrementalism may have worked in the past, but it didn't wk in constitution, didn't work in egypt -- in tunisia, didn't work in egypt, do you think it will work in ria? >> not necessarily, i think that is what they are going to try to do. we've seen it in libya with gadhafi talking about a cease-fire and talk about possible concessions to the opposition, getting together to talk about things. don't know that this is necessarily going to work, but the fact is is that the opposition has a very tough road to hoe in syria by getting rid of this assad regime. >> a complicated issue. help me understand what our best hopes as american -- coldly as america, what is our best hopes
there? on one hand, syria's been defined as a state sponsor of terrorism. on the other, you've got the issue that scientists all of these revolutions, what rises in its place? what's the best hope? >> that's a very interesting question. a lot of groups haveeen cloaking themselves in the flag of democracy. the question is -- are they real really small-d democrats, leadingh them in a direction of secularism or demoacy. that's not clear in any t of the states as we look at them now. syria is a major problem for the united states. state sponsor of terrorism, ally of iran. i it's got its handsn back into lebaafter it left in 2005. it's an enemy of israel when it has land disputes with israel, as well. supports hamas and hezbollah. the hope is that you could get this regime to at least change its behavior. if not be replaced by a group that would support democratic reforms. >> let me dancemi across the ddle east real quick and goomen yemen. again other another complicateg
issue. we've got a place that's ripe with islamic fundamentalism, home to al qaeda, and its president has been an ally to the united states. at least to some degree, in counterterrorism measures. what are we hoping for there? >> i mean, this is -- yemen is further alonghe way. it's certainly not as hot as libya is, but we're seeing embers there. and there's a possibility that president saleh will step down in t short term. he says he doesn't's want to because he's worried about who the opposition is. oncegain we have al qaeda and the arabian peninsula. i think that's what you were referring to there. the fact is that we've had at least three plots over the last 18 months that have originated out of yemen against the united ates. so the concern here is is that ifthere's a power vacuum or the ifthere'it's pain relief or the without the pills. no pills, no pain. how can you get pain relief without taking pills around the clock? try thermacare heatwraps, for all day relief without pills.
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what are you hearing? what's the latest? >> reporter: well, as you point out, the government greatly concerned about the, is that may be going on at reactor number three. we've got an image to show you. it's a graphic. basically here's the problem -- they think that the water levels with the radiation they found, 10,000 times, as you say, above normal in the se that this is perhaps a leak coming from the core of the reactor. that particular reactor of all six that are out there is the most dangerous because it has mixed fuel. it's the only one that. does a mixture of uranium and plutonium, that's very dangerous stuff. meanwhile, overnight, though, the government also said you know what we had found equally radioactive water levs in reactor number one. well, that's a about that? >> reporter: right. this is the problem because no one can actually get in and get eyes on because the circumstance is too dangerous for humans to go into these reactors. and so trying to figure out how you deal with this, what they know is that, of course, with the high levels of radiation you can't keep sending people in, it's going to delay the recovery
work, it's going to delay trying to get the cooling pumps back on line. it's another serious setback. >> martin savidge, thank you. if nuclear material is leaking, what are the possible impacts? we go to the former commissioner of the nuclear regulatory commission. welcome back, victor. what do you do when you see these sorts of numbers? >> the numbers are high, all over the place. not only inside the reactors but the numbers on the site for the public doses are -- they're all about 10,000 times too high. and you're getting the material outside the site also. i think they're less sure about the conclusion about the reactor whether it meant that there was a crack in the reactor or break in the -- in the reactor itself. they seem to have backed off. they don't know, and it's hard for us to figure it out if they -- if they on the spot don't know. it's true you can't get in there because the readings in the
plants are very, very high. and the readings on the site are extremely high, as well. >> all i can tell you is as somebody who is watching radiation levels day by day there seems to be a trend in the right direction, then boom, 10,000 times what's permissible makes you think that something very ugly is going on in there, and we're just not aware of it. as you say, we can't go in to look. how do you begin to get your arms around this if you're back at the nrc? what would you do? >> well, the first step, of course, is dealing with the heat. and they seem to have turned the corner. they're not there yet, but they seem to have turned the corner as far as controlling the heat. the next question is the containment of the radioactive material. and they've just got a horrendous mess on their hands. it isn't just these reactors. the thing they're most concerned about are the spent fuel pools, especially in three and four, because those are just open to the airment and the fuel there
has been damaged, they lost water in there. i'm not sure what the situation is right now, but they certainly -- the fuel went through extreme damage and may have melted even. and that releases the radioactive material, as you've heard about, iodine, and there's a direct path to the outside. >> all right, victor galinskyi, thank you for the upbeat news. we hope things turn for the better. as nuclear energy elk expands worldwide, there hasn't been a new plant built in the united states in more than 30 years. our next guest wants to change that. david crane is ceo of nuclear energy. a partner in a new plant is none other than tokyo election, tepco. not the partner you want right now. full disclosure, david and i were classmates together in college and law school. let me frame the issue this way -- when i was in office as governor, i was one of many who said you know what, nuclear
power can and should be one of the bridges we put in place to get us to the land of renewable energy. you still think we need nuclear power even in the midst of what's going on in japan. you still feel that way? >> i absolutely feel that way. and i think the most important thing is is nuclear like solar and wind, both of which have a bright future, but they're part of nuclear power generation. if we're going to deal with what i think is the biggest environmental issue around the world which is climate change, we need nuclear, solar, and wind. i'm not sure i would agree with your assessment that it's -- i think we need both. obviously solar and wind are not reliable sources of power. and notwithstanding this tragedy in japan, nuclear power is usually about the most reliable form of power generation that we have. >> just so it's clear, you're the ceo of one of the largest power companies in the nation. as a percentage of your total production, nuclear is tiny. most of what you have is coal and natural gas. >> nuclear's about 10% of our capacity but more like 20 foster
30% of overall generation because nuclear plants produce an enormous amount of power. >> okay. explain why in that list you just gave us, you said wind, solar, and nuclear, how about natural gas? natural gas is also zero emission and is also domestic. why not go heavily toward natural gas? >> well, we are going to go heavily toward natural gas. our company right now is building a couple nature gas plants. left to the -- if you leave the power industry to its own devices right now, all we will build is natural gas plants, and i think one of the great virtues that the american electric system has is that it's fuel diversified. i want to see more natural gas plants but don't want to go to 100% natural gas. >> why not use natural gas and make that our go-to source for the next 10 or 20 years until the wind and solar and other renewables come on line in a big enough form? >> first of all, i'm not sure you ever get to the point where wind and solar are the workhorse of the system because they're just not reliable. you would need to be able to come up with a way to restore power effectively. no one has come up with that yet. that's been the holy grail of
the industry for as long as i've been in it. natural gas is still a fossil fuel. it still emits carbon -- >> far less than coal? >> about half as much. >> half is still significant. skool what we have to move away -- coal is what we have to move away from? >> non-clean coal. i think the world needs to work on non-clean coal technologies. other countries will keep burning coal no matter what the united states does. >> the issue will have to make that a conversation -- the economics i don't think work given current -- >> the economics are tough. >> let's talk about the politics of nukes now. given what's happened, put aside science. is it politically plausible there's going to be nuclear power plants, new ones, built in the united states? >> one of the interesting things even since the crisis started in japan, that there's been a reaffirmation of support for nuclear power from president obama, secretary chu, and the republican leadership in congress. so there's actually a consensus for nuclear, but it's a long way from rhetoric in support of nuclear power to new nuclear
power plants. >> it's the same issue as everybody knows we need and desperately want a place to store the refuse of the spent fuel rods of nuclear power. yucca mountain hasn't been built, probably never will be built. everybody agrees on the overarching policy, then nobody in my back yard creeps in, nobody wants it. can you name one place in the united states that is putting up its hand saying build a new nuclear power plant here right now? >> oh, yeah. i can tell you exactly. bay city, texas. that's where our plant is. >> they're with you? >> totally with us. i was there on monday. >> can you do it without federal loan guarantees to cover this enormous downside financial risk that might eventually in the event of disaster? >> you can not being nuclear power plants without federal loan guarantees because plants are too big relative to the size of american power companies. the government offered loan guarantees, that's why our company started to develop a nuclear -- >> we'll continue this conversation some other night. thanks for coming in. next, a battle of wanot in
as the u.s. military involvement in libya seems to be ramping up, we're still involved in two long-term wars in the middle east. in afghanistan the history is murky, especially when it's written by the u.s. army. cnn investigative correspondent drew griffin has a special report on the alleged cover-up of the battle of wanot in which nine soldiers died.
one soldier who survived said, and i quote, "our leaders left us in a fishbowl, handcuffed by the enemy moving in." at first the military found those leaders derelict in their duty, but then in a strange about-face, the same leaders were taken off the hook. >> going hot. 50 meters east. they're within hand grenade range. >> stand by for fire. >> this is video from apache helicopters during the battle. hundreds of taliban fighters so close, the two sides were meters apart. >> ten meters. >> you've got to be kidding me. >> by the time the apaches arrived, 75% of the soldiers in chosen company second platoon were dead or injured.
>> this is miserable. >> this is video those soldier took just days before the battle. >> doesn't this look fun? go army. >> the 49 soldiers digging in by hand, trying to establish a new combat outpost in a village called wanat, the afghan contractor responsible for bringing heavy equipment had not shown up. >> there's people up here, they want to shoot at us. is what is happening. >> the company was warned the taliban was planning an attack, and that is exactly what happened. jonathan brostram was the platoon leader often his last trip home, a surprise visit for
mother's day, he told his father about one last mission in afghanistan. a mission he was worried about. >> they were moving out of a place called bella, where he was spending most of his time. they were going to move down to a location which he didn't disclose. >> that location was just down the valley at wafat. >> he was worried about it. he said, "dad, they're going to follow me. this is a bad situation." >> they're going follow me meaning -- >> the insurgents would follow him. and i said, son, don't worry about. you know, you're in the army. you'll be okay. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: videos jonathan brought home with him, though, showed everything in that valley was not okay. [ gunfire ] >> he was getting attacked -- i would say, you know, once or twice a week, maybe more. when a father looks at it, it
looks like he's being shot at every day. i asked him a bunch of things -- how far away is your battalion headquarters, your company. how often do your commanders come around and see you, do you get much of apache support or artillery support. >> questions i would imagine you're asking not as a dad but a lieutenant colonel. >> it was my experience coming out, but i was also concerned about the situation. >> you see, dave brostrom is not just the father of a soldier, for 30 years he was a soldier. it turns out the retired lieutenant colonel had good reason to worry. >> basically the army sent these guys up there and said "do the best you can"? >> they d. they underestimated the enemy. i guess they hoped that everything would go right. >> everything went wrong. >> everything went wrong. >> we're on the left-hand side. we'll look for the green smoke and put some [ bleep ] down. >> we got the notification on
the 12th of july -- 13th of july that he'd been killed that same day. you know, it just kind of -- it all came together. i said -- you know, i wonder if he was doing this mission he was talking about. and he was. >> finally i'm going to be able to answer some of the questions that you've had for over a year. >> the battle at wanat was such a disaster it sparked an investigation. two years later, a marine general would share the results of that investigation with nine grieving families. one of the families recorded that meeting. >> we felt that there was dereliction of certain elements of the chain of command as a result of their inaction prior to the battle. >> marine lieutenant general richard natonsky found three officers had been negligently distracted. the company commander, the
battalion commander, and the brigade commander had not adequately planned the operation. the soldiers had no heavy construction supplies to build a base at wanat. no potable water, in 100-degree temperatures, and most damning -- no officer visited wanat until the day before the attack. the findings approved by then-commanding general david petraeus should have ended the careers of three commanders that brostrom had in mind but the army had something else in mind -- >> you were told to soften this to the united states army. and that's exactly what happened here. >> drew, one of the things you have to wonder when you see this harrowing tale is -- would the investigation whose story you're going to tell us more about in a minute, would this investigation have even happened if one of the
fathers of one of the killed soldiers had not been in the army for 30 years. it's hard for me to say if that would have not happened. certainly lieutenant colonel dave brostrom took his grief and put it to action. pressed his contacts, old colleagues, squeezed his buddies in the army to find out what happened. to a person, his contacts were telling him something's wrong here, dave. this investigation is not going right, and you should continue to press on. he did press on, it took him two years, and he finally got answers, but as you alluded to, not the answers he wanted to hear. re on my hotel? well, hotels know they can't fill every room every day. like this one. and this one. and oops, my bad. so, they give expedia ginormous discounts with these:
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then my doctor added abilify to my antidepressant. now, i feel better. [ male announcer ] if you're still struggling with depression talk to your doctor to see if the option of adding abilify is right for you. and be sure to ask about the free trial offer. the battle of wanat, afghanistan, lefts nine dead and 27 wounded. it was soldiers fighting the enemy undermanned, underresourced, and, according to the army's own report, the higher command wasn't paying attention. but instead of punishing those responsible, the army decided to rewrite the history. here again is drew griffin. we felt that there was dereliction of certain elements of the chain of command -- >> reporter: a three-star marine lieutenant general had just explained to the families of nine dead soldiers that the officers responsible for the troops at wanat did not do their
jobs. mistakes were made leading up to the battle, he said, in this video recorded by one of the families. no sooner had the general finished that a second general stood up. u.s. army general charles campbell, who delivered a bombshell. >> and i informed the secretary of the army of the action that i took. and my determination that the officers listed in the report had exercised due care in the performance of their duties. >> reporter: it was a complete reversal from the findings of marine general notonsky. findings approved by army general david petraeus. the letters of reprimand to the three commanders were rescinded. no one would be punished. petraeus was asked about the reversal at a senate hearing and made clear he still believes the three commanding officers were derelict of duty. disagreeing with general
campbell, the colleague who reversed his decision. >> we discussed that. i respect his view in this particular case. i support the process. but i did not change the finding that i affirmed after investigating officers provided it to me. again, i support this particular process. >> reporter: but for david brostrom, an especially stinging moment was yet to come. the army's combat studies institute was writing the final historical report on the battle of wanat. and reinterviewing only those officers in the higher command. the same officers that had been originally found derelict of duty. then the army's combat studies institute released what is now official army history. >> my personal feeling, this is my feeling, is that the army when they took a look at general
petraeus and general notonsky's decision, it was embarrassing to them. the final decision was more to protect the institution than it was focused on finding officers or chain of command derelict of duties. >> they put a lot of blame on your son. >> yes, they did. >> reporter: in what is now official army history, the army largely blamed platoon leader lieutenant jonathan brostrom for the deaths. the report says he picked a poor location for the observation post and failed to use afghan security forces as lookouts. >> it's a lot easier to blame a dead second lieutenant than it is the chain of command. >> so drew, this just begs the question -- now what? what recourse do the family members have some what pushback is possible this is there an inspector general that is looking at this?
congressional committees? what can people do? >> reporter: certainly dave b s brostrom has asked for help with the combat studies institute but the army's entrenched. they seem saying, listen, we don't want to second-guess our military leaders in battle. i got to tell you, eliot, military leaders have told me over the phone that that is exactly what should have been done in this case. not to just punish these leaders now prevent this from ever happening again. at this point, it looks like unless retiring army chief of staff general casey gets involved, that this is going to go down in history. it is going to be blamed on this dead platoon leader. >> do we know where charles campbell is? he's the general who stood up on that video, that gripping video and said "i'm just reversing the conclusions of the people who did the report," where is he now? has he been forced to explain that decision? and what the possible rationale
might be? >> reporter: he is retired now. and we did contact him by phone in korea where he's working in an exercise, an army exercise. he basically said, "i followed the procedures. i looked at all the evidence from the original natonsky report, and it was my decision to reverse this." his personal decision looking at the facts before him. and at this point, he seems to be the end of the line unless, like i said, the army chief of staff gets involved. >> drew, that is one amazing reports. we'll reach out to general campbell when he gets back from korea, invite him on the show, and tell the world whether or not he has the guts to show up. all right. breaking news. lately it seems like news is breaking every day. revolution, an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear threat. and that's not hype, that's realty. i'll break down another amazing week with will cain when we come back. ♪
with all the chaos in the world, it is still north africa and the middle east where things are breaking out left and right. that's why i in particular am looking forward to the president's speech monday. he will lend structure to our response to what's going on in that part of the world. >> dear god, let's hope so. bothers me that we don't provide answers before we act. we ought to know our position. we ought to know what we're supporting. before we go to war, we ought to be our objectives.